It was a very busy day yesterday.. I went out to fetch the kids three times and I have prepared 3 new recipes concurrently.. By the time I prepared the third or this recipe, it was about 6:30 pm and I am really tired as the first recipe that I tried was not smooth… That also explain why the images lighting is not good and making the dish less appealing as it should be.
The recipe went rather smooth until the very last step of preparing the egg flower soup. While most recipe called for using one egg, in my mind, I thought the kids like to eat eggs, so I will just use two eggs instead. Oh, I was wrong, apparent two eggs is too much for that volume of soup and the egg flower is too much that making the soup not clear enough for my picture taking purposes. Bear with me, I will retake the images for the recipe bearing this in mind. But the taste of the soup is much better and it is more aromatic with more eggs.. So I will still mention two eggs for this recipe and if not for picture taking, I would think this is a better recipe.
“Hot and sour soup” is a Chinese soup claimed variously by the regional cuisines of Beijing and Sichuan as a regional dish. The Chinese hot and sour soup is usually meat-based, and often contains ingredients such as day lily buds, wood ear fungus, bamboo shoots, and tofu, in a broth that is sometimes flavoured with pork blood. It is typically made hot (spicy) by red peppers or white pepper, and sour by vinegar.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_and_sour_soup). The soup is a common household soup in China but it has become very popular in the USA or other Western countries.
Note that the spicy components may not necessary from the chilli, it can refer to huge amount of white pepper being used making it spicy. However, some recipe does use the dried chilli and in this recipe, because of my kids, I have decided to use another alternative of adding chilli sesame oil towards the end of cooking so that we can adjust the spiciness accordingly. If you can’t get chilli oil and you wanted it to be really spicy, you can add the chilli in the hot oil and stir fry for fragrance and spiciness.
For this illustration, I did not make it too sour either as kids still cannot eat tangy food. Therefore the colour of the soup is a bit lighter than those in the restaurant. In fact, as it was late yesterday, I cannot see the colour clearly when I cook the soup and only discovered it while I took the photos. There are many variations as to the ingredients of this soup though the common one is a blend of the texture and taste. Feel free to change to the one that suit your taste buds .
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings 4 adult servings
- 8 cups of meat stock or plain water
- 1/4 cup of sweet potatoes starch or corn starch diluted with 1/4 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of ham or fresh meat slices , sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup of shitake mushrooms or wood ear fungus , sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup of bamboo shoots, sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup of firm taukwa, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons of shredded carrots
- 2 eggs
- 2 sprigs of spring onion or coriander or chinese celery, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of white pepper (depend on the spiciness required)
- 1 teaspoon of sesame chilli oil (optional)
- 1/4 cup of black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce
- 1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder or your preferred seasoning
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Lightly beaten the eggs and set aside.
- Prepare the starch solution by adding the starch with water, stir until well mixed and set aside.
- In a pot, put 2 tablespoons of oil , saute the minced garlic until fragrant. Add the shredded carrot and stir fry for 1 minute such that the oil looked orangey. The main purpose of this step is to let the carrot’s beta carotene to colour the soup. If you prefer, you can add some dried chilli for sauteing at this stage and dish out later.
- Add in the ham, bamboo shoots and wood ear fungus. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes such that the flavour are incorporated. Add the chicken stock or water. Note that if plain water is used, you will need to have more chicken stock seasonings later. However, if meat stock is used, you will need less of seasoning.
- Bring the soup to boil. Once it boils, let it simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavour of the meat develop. Add the black vinegar and soya sauce. Bring to boil and once it boils ,REDUCE THE HEAT TO MEDIUM OR LOW, gradually add in the starch and use a ladle to stir such that the starch is evenly distributed. Once the soup turns transparent, add the firm taukwa or tofu, follow by drizzle the egg slowly to the soup. When the soup boils, add the white pepper, chicken stock powder and salt. Off the heat. Transfer the soup to serving bowl, sprinkle with chopped onion and drizzle with sesame oil or chilli sesame oil before serving.
- Every family taste buds is different. It is imperative that you taste the soup and make necessary adjustments. This recipe is rather conservative.
- To make it look darker, add some dark soya sauce to achieve the effect. If it is too watery, add more starches. If too sticky, gradually add in more meat stock or water.
- Instead of using black vinegar, you can also use white vinegar. To colour the soup, add a bit more dark soya sauce. White vinegar is more tangy than black vinegar and hence you may need to use lesser. As a rule of thumb, add gradually. It is best to be conservative than aggressive as you can adjust the soup at the dinning table too..
Actually, i have been preparing sweet and sour soup well before I did this proper recipe. Prior to this, I did not sauté the garlic and the whole soup is oil free. I also like to prepare it in a vegetarian version by omitting the ham or meat stripes. This is a rather fast recipes once your master the basic techniques of preparation.
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